STATE NEWS: Master plan finalized for Hanging Rock State Park
Raleigh, N.C. — A master plan for the expansion and future management of Hanging Rock State Park has been approved by the N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation. The master plan was developed with extensive public input from local businesses, citizens and park staff as well as conservation partners the Friends of Sauratown Mountains and the Piedmont Land Conservancy. The result is a vision for the park that balances cultural history, outdoor recreation and natural resources stewardship.
In 1936, the Stokes County Committee for Hanging Rock and the Winston-Salem Foundation donated more than 3,000 acres to the State of North Carolina establishing the state park. Many of the park’s facilities were constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps between 1935 and 1942. The park grew to more than 7,000 acres over the years.
In 2014, 770 acres were added to Hanging Rock State Park. The land includes properties, Vade Mecum and Moore’s Springs, that increase the rich history of the park, as they have been a destination for North Carolinians for close to 100 years. The new master plan builds upon this history and pairs natural resource protection with opportunities for public recreation and education.
“We are committed to our mission of conserving natural resources, educating our visitors, and providing quality outdoor recreation,” said DPR Division Director Dwayne Patterson. “The Hanging Rock master plan offers us an outstanding opportunity to fulfill those objectives. That commitment, along with the continued support of our partners, will come together in a lasting legacy for the park.”
Concepts for the property’s use, developed by staff and stakeholders, set priorities for development such as stabilization and renovation of historic buildings, including a gymnasium, the Cheshire Hotel and a chapel. The plan also features parking improvements, day use areas, hiking, mountain biking and equestrian trails, camping facilities and paddle access along the Dan River. Mechanisms to address the protection of key historical structures, soils, natural communities, floodplains, and creating gathering spaces within the park are important components as well.
This master plan is a blueprint for long-term use and development of facilities and protection of important natural resources, according to Brian Strong, the division’s chief of natural resources and planning. The plan serves as a dynamic document, which evolves as the park grows and knowledge is gained about available resources and public use.
Hanging Rock State Park welcomed over 670,000 visitors in 2017. Details on the Hanging Rock State Park expansion master plan are available on the division planning website: https://www.ncparks.gov/more-about-us/about-parks-recreation/park-planning